At Comic-Con 2012, Doctor Who Executive Producer Steven Moffat promised a 50th anniversary season full of surprises and special opportunities to look back at half a century of The Doctor on TV. In addition to the usual twists, turns, guest appearances, and wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, we've already heard confirmation of BBC America's plan to air four Doctor Who-themed "specials" that reflect on the show's most memorable ladies, locations, and science.
However, we're now getting word that a full 90 minute "drama film" is also being planned but, before anyone gets too excited about a Matt Smith-starring feature movie, An Adventure In Space And Time will actually follow the creation of the iconic character - not add to The Doctor's adventures.
Doctor Who first aired on November 23, 1963, and instead of the usual making-of documentary, BBC is opting to present the show's story in dramatic form - penned by current Doctor Who and Sherlock scribe, Mark Gatiss. According to the writer, the behind-the-scenes story of Doctor Who mirrors the titular character's penchant for underdogs who do great things:
"This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original."
According to the BBC report, the show will also focus on the first Doctor, William Hartnell - who, prior to his quirky Time Lord days, was known for "tough-guy" roles (starting with Sergeant Ned Fletcher in The Way Ahead).
Speaking about An Adventure In Space And Time, Gatiss went on to explain:
"I've wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen for Doctor Who's 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true."
"The story of Doctor Who is the story of television - so it's fitting in the anniversary year that we make our most important journey back in time to see how the Tardis was launched."
An Adventure In Space And Time should also add to the "Classic Series" profile - given that recent Doctor Who converts usually start with Russell T Davies reboot era (first starring Christopher Eccleston). For many, the idea of tackling the older series (which includes 26 seasons - and several hundred episodes) is an overly-daunting task - especially since the 2005 reboot does a solid job of teaching newbie Who fans about the show's larger universe. Although, after An Adventure In Space And Time, it's likely that some viewers will be tempted to have a look at the show's earlier episodes as well.
That said, some fans might be too busy for reminiscent looks back and for anyone anxiously awaiting Doctor Who season 7, we've also provided a sneak peek at the show's 2012 Christmas Special - which is set to introduce The Doctor's new companion, Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman), as well as bring back some fan-favorite non-human faces.
Check out the Doctor Who season seven Christmas Special set photos below - which contain MILD SPOILERS (thanks to Coming Soon):
In case you haven't been following prior Doctor Who set photo coverage, the pictures feature (in order): Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman), actress Liz White (BBC's Life on Mars), actor Tom Ward (Silent Witness), Jenny (played by Catrin Stewart), as well as Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and Strax (Dan Starkey). The latter three characters were most recently featured in season six, episode seven of the series, "A Good Man Goes to War."
It'll definitely be interesting to see how Clara is introduced to the show, especially if she's from an entirely different time period (noting the Victorian era clothing). Most companions are from the "present" - to act as relatable stand-ins for the audience. Of course, it's certainly possible that the 19th-Century setting is merely the first stop in the character's adventures - not her place of origin.
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Doctor Who season 7 premieres autumn (late-August/September) on BBC and BBC America. In the meantime, check out our Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List!